Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just wondering.....

Is it right that the other reindeer LOVED Rudolph just because of something he did for them? Who is round John virgin, and why was he in the manger? What the hell am I supposed to do with eight lords-a-leaping?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cabin plans

Hopefully this is more interesting than pictures of dirt. Here's a small bit of the cabin plans; actually the easiest part to draw. The other pages are all the technical stuff like framing and wiring that take FOREVER to figure out. With the lot size, and the way the septic system laws are, I ended up with a 20x20 area to build if I move the driveway. I am going to cantilever 4' of deck and a bay window; we'll see what the county feels about that. Unlike the other cabin the bathroom is right off the kitchen. The fireplace is two sided so you can enjoy it from anywhere in the room, and the whole structure is basically a cube so the heat will distribute evenly. There is lots of work to do before I even get to the part where I need my hammer.....The fact that this is across the street from home is great. Annamarie will come up and visit while I'm working, which to me represents a perfect moment 1) building 2) with a great view in the mountains 3) A.M. right there too.
Just don't bother asking when it'll be done. I'm paying for materials while I go, have to continue to work, etc. This is more of a hobby. If I set a schedule it would take the fun out. Ballpark two years, though.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dear Santa,

Here's what I want for Christmas---a CT light sport class airplane. It will hold me, Annamarie, and 55 pounds of luggage (sorry, kids!) cruise speed 120 knots, 1000 mile range. 3-4 gallons per hour fuel consumption. Full frame emergency parachute system. Rotax 100 powered. The light sport class makes it so the only physical I'd need is maintaining a driver's license so the color issue won't be a factor. Prices start at $89,000.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wyckhouse visit

Nice visit from the Wyckhouse family. They stayed the weekend, and everyone had fun. The weather could not have been better, too

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Cabin Progress

Before I get plans approved, I have to install the septic system. Before I do that, I have to move the driveway. The guy in the cabin behind my property got an easement for the easternmost 10' of the property, then put the driveway way out of the easement. I could make him honor the easement, but I think keeping good will with the neighbors is good policy.
I poured concrete right along the property line as far as I could, until there was significant elevation change. Now I'm pouring pilasters on a 12" thick base; boulders will get mortared in between the pilasters. I'll fill behind the new wall with gravel and continue to add on to the driveway. When it's done I'll cut the existing driveway down to the required 10' width. It's a very nice place to be working, and home is right across the street.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


A guy set up a business breeding rats. His plan was to build a bunch of mazes and researchers could pay to see his rats run through the mazes. Demand was pretty high so it was a good plan.
He put the rats in the mazes but they just sort of sat there, sniffing around a little.
A researcher, experienced in such things, recommended keeping the rats a little hungry, and putting some cheese at the far end of the maze. That did the trick---once the cheese was there, a few of the rats figured out if they ran the maze, they got some cheese. The researchers paid well to watch this, so the guy bought more cheese.
Not all the rats would run the maze; some felt it was beneath them. Some felt forced by the man and rebelled. Others made excuses for not maze-running....The maze wasn't designed for rats with their fur color, or, as young rats they'd seen siblings eaten by their parents, and so on. The ones that did run the maze had cheese to spare, and save some of it. They even shared some of it with the other rats. The business owner tried to explain that if every rat ran a maze, the researchers would pay enough that there would be lots of cheese, even fancy cheese, for every one.
The non-maze running rats felt the sharing was done unfairly and complained. They decided to vote on it, each rat having one vote. Since the non maze runners outnumbered the others, they voted the cheese equally distributed. Their banners at their rat rallies showed a cheese wheel, and how the cheese was divided unfairly. Many of the maze running rats realized they got the same amount of cheese either way so stopped running the mazes; after all, the non's were getting to breed more anyway.
Soon, very few rats would run the maze. There wasn't enough cheese to go around, so they voted the runners should work harder. When the runners dropped dead the researchers all went away and the business failed. As the rats starved, they continued to vote themselves bigger cheese allotments, with stronger and stronger entitlement rhetoric but without any talent for production it was futile.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Island of Trash!

You have probably heard there is an 'Island of Trash', twice the size of Texas, floating in the Pacific Ocean some where near Hawaii. That's bad news.
I first became turned off to the eco-movement while serving (which I still do) on the Board of Directors for the Lake Cuyamaca Recreation and Park District. It's a pretty little spot people can hike, birdwatch, hunt, fish, go boating, camp, picnic....It's completely supported by the use fees and is non profit.
Every couple of years, eco-groups come at us for one thing or another, and threaten to shut us down if we don't change some little thing. If you change the little thing, they come up with another, then another, until they get you to a negotiating table and demand a payoff. It's a huge expense that produces nothing. (A great read on the topic is 'Undue Influence', BTW)
Back to our 'Island of Trash'. I was suspicious, because a photo would have been striking. The articles made it sound like a giant, vast mound of trash swirling in the Pacific.
The reality? An area with 'An increased concentration of man-made debris'. A group with an agenda chartered a boat to get some evidence. All they found was the occasional flotsam. The most damning photo they produced is shown here; Damn those coconuts!!! Also...plastic DOES break down over time.
If you want to tell me there is way too much packaging, I agree 100%. We produce way too much trash, and it is unsightly and harms wildlife.
A wealthy nation is in a much better position to be eco friendly than a poor one. A wealthy nation can feed more people with less land, too. When environmental laws and groups leverage public fear to stick it to businesses, it just drives them overseas or bankrupts them. The real island of trash is the fatalistic view of a poisoned planet.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Autumn in Cuyamaca

We are having one of the most beautiful Autumns I can remember. No matter how many pictures I take or how much time we spend outside, it seems we're not taking adequate advantage of it.
Charlie usually shows up about this time of year, and hangs out until New Years' or until his head rots, whichever comes first. This year he's a chef. He's been a pirate, lumberjack, and gardener in the past. Charlie helps soften the blow for Annamarie, as she's connected to her garden at an almost spiritual level and has to say goodbye for the winter. Thanksgiving, then decorating for Christmas, are a good distraction but the fact remains she's most at peace when she can spend some time in her garden every day.